Training my Young Silkies to Use a Ladder

Katniss_Everdeen

Songster
Nov 24, 2020
172
516
141
Australia, QLD
Hi BYC!
So today I built a small platform for my 3 10 & 1/2 week old silkies because I took away their old 'brooder cage' from the coop. I plan to also build a wall beneath it for them to hide under because they get pecked by the other hens pretty badly sometimes.
Here is a photo of the set up:
Silkies's Platform.jpg

My flock free ranges during the day and I lock them up at about 4-5 pm every day, while I was putting them away today I put the silkies on the platform with some food to encourage them to stay there. Then about an hour ago, I went to check on them to make sure they were still on the platform and 2 of them were, all snug up together almost asleep, but 1 of them wasn't she was wandering around on the ground frantically tweeting. The others were responding to her so she was obviously trying to get back up there, she must have flown down by accident or something. But she couldn't figure out how to use the ladder I had made for her. I am worried that if the hens had not been roosting at that point then the may have seriously hurt her. My question is how do I train my silkies to use the ladder? They may just end up figuring it out eventually, but I would like them to learn as soon as possible for emergencies. Any Ideas?
Thanks in advance!
 

Skyle

Spends hours watching chickens
Apr 11, 2020
155
517
156
Between Italy and Slovenia
I think that the ladder might be too slippery for them, I'd add more steps, expecially in the bottom part. I've never had silkies but I know they can't use their wings to fly or jump higher.
How long have the silkies been with your older girls? Before introducing some new chickens in your flock you should put them for some weeks in a place where the olders can see the youngers, but can't reach them, you can use some net to separate two parts of the run. After that time you can remove gradually the net and watch what happens, there's always some pecking to build the pecking order, but if it's too violent you should separate them again.
 

Katniss_Everdeen

Songster
Nov 24, 2020
172
516
141
Australia, QLD
I think that the ladder might be too slippery for them, I'd add more steps, expecially in the bottom part. I've never had silkies but I know they can't use their wings to fly or jump higher.
How long have the silkies been with your older girls? Before introducing some new chickens in your flock you should put them for some weeks in a place where the olders can see the youngers, but can't reach them, you can use some net to separate two parts of the run. After that time you can remove gradually the net and watch what happens, there's always some pecking to build the pecking order, but if it's too violent you should separate them again.

Ok I will add more steps tommorow.

I introduced them to the flock when they were 4 weeks old. I had them separated where they could see but not touch for 3 weeks and then let them be together supervised for short periods of time for another 3 weeks, where there was still some pecking. I have just started letting them free range together unsupervised yesterday. It seems to be mainly when they are put back in the coop that is when there is trouble.
 

SilkiesinLA

Hatching
Jan 9, 2021
2
2
8
It took my four Silkies almost a month before they went up and down the ladder by themselves. Everyday I would coaxed them up or down or just move them myself. They had to jump over a lip at the top so a I eventually removed that obstacle. I also raised the bottom in order to decrease the slope. Those two things helped tremendously. They definitely did not like it steep.
 

Aunt Angus

Free Ranging
Jul 16, 2018
4,497
11,476
712
Nevada County, CA
You might make a place they can escape to that is lower. I had something like that for my 3 bantams when I first integrated. They had a cage set up on blocks that was just high enough that the littles could get under. But it was too low to the ground for my big girls. But that's assuming you have no other bantams.

Just an idea.
 

ozzie

Crowing
13 Years
Nov 12, 2007
233
63
251
Australia (New South Wales)
You could try adding those anti slip shelf liners on the ladder? Or something like this

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/will-silkies-use-a-ladder.341896/post-4161304

Or add a milk crate. My silkie can hop up onto the milk crate and then onto the roost in the coop. I think they prefer to do that than to walk up a ladder?

It’s all about trial and error. And give it time. I had given up on my lot sleeping on the roosts I put in the coop. They just kept sleeping in a pile. And then last night, something clicked and I found all of them on the roost. I didn’t have to teach them anything. They just did it.
 

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